All aspiring college basketball players dream of playing at a blue-blood program such as Duke or North Carolina. Those teams have the most history, some of the best coaches and some of the best fans in the country. It’s no secret why those programs are highly desirable for 18-year-old prospective college basketball player.
For Brendan Lane, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Rocklin, Calif., this dream became a reality. After being named the Division II state player of the year in Calif. and the Sacramento Bee’s Area Player of the Year during his senior year at Rocklin High School, Lane signed with the UCLA Bruins.
However, sometimes these dreams don’t play out like some teenagers anticipate. Whether it’s because of over-recruiting, a lack-of-fit or the player is just not ready for that level of basketball, athletes often transfer from these type of schools. Lane can attest to that, as he ended up departing from UCLA after three years.
While Lane’s intentions on transferring are fairly unknown, playing time certainly had something to do with it. Despite being a four-star prospect and as high as the 49th ranked recruit coming out of high school, Lane never quite gained traction while at UCLA.
In his time at Westwood, Lane played in 79 contests and started in eight of them. In the first few seasons, Lane was a contributor off the bench, scoring 2.4 points and 3.0 points per game as a freshman and sophomore respectively.
Unfortunately for Lane, he was stuck behind a logjam of frontcourt of talent during his final year at UCLA, with Reeves Nelson, Josh Smith and Anthony Stover returning and the Wear twins – David and Tyler – coming into the fold. Playing time was scarce, and Lane’s minutes were slashed as a result.
Former UCLA head coach Ben Howland had nothing but great things to say about Lane after his departure, showing the divorce between the Bruins and Lane was a clean one. Although Lane reportedly enjoyed his time at UCLA, it was time for him to go to a school where he can earn more minutes.
Pepperdine ended up being that school. Since he graduated in three years while at UCLA, Lane was eligible to play right away for the Waves. Despite this, Lane elected to redshirt during his first season in Malibu in order to regain his confidence on the basketball court and learn the system.
This move, the transfer and redshirt year included, was demonstrated to be advantageous for Lane based on his successful senior season.
Under Lane’s leadership, the Waves finished fifth in the WCC with an 8-10 record, the schools best finish in 10 years.
Lane made his presence known right away for the Waves, as the senior finished three blocks short of a triple-double (yes, he had SEVEN blocks in one game) in Pepperdine’s 13 point victory over San Diego Christian. The Rocklin, Calif. native finished with a double-double in four out of the Waves first six games, sending a message to the rest of the conference that Lane was not to be messed with this year.
After the quick start, Lane’s number’s started to dwindle a little bit, but not by much. Lane exploded for 26 points and 17 rebounds in a win at Santa Clara, marking his best performance of the season.
When it was all said and done, Lane finished the year with 13.0 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game and 2.4 blocks per game in his final season of eligibility. His ability to defend the basket and block shots earned him WCC Defensive Player of the Year honors, and his overall play put him as an honorable mention of the All-WCC team.
Not only was Lane phenomenal on the basketball court, the senior was a standout in the classroom as well. Lane, who is seeking a graduate degree in analytic finance, was a WCC all-academic first team member and scholar-athlete at Pepperdine.
Pepperdine is losing a great basketball player in Lane, there is no doubt about that. However, the program might be losing an even better leader and person too.
Although Lane only spent a total of two seasons at Pepperdine, all accounts point to him being a catalyst of a team that was trending upward. It is safe to say that the Waves are losing a great overall individual in Lane, one that cannot easily be replaced.